Döner Shack: An insight into the German street food’s second site opening

Co-founder and managing director Sanjeev Sanghera, explains the restaurant's second site opening, located in Manchester, discussing what people can expect to see from the brand with particular focus on the unsteady market at this time

Why have you decided to open in Manchester?

Manchester was an obvious location to open the new Döner Shack restaurant as we already have a successful sister restaurant, Döner Haus, in the city and have a good understanding of the demographics and our target audience. Manchester is a diverse and forward-thinking hub of the northwest, and we believe we have found the right community for our concept and cuisine.

How much will it cost to open the site?

Our budget costs for a shell specification site in a shopping centre are approximately £450k. Most of the cost is driven by high grade fire suppression systems that need to be installed by approved contractors. We invest heavily in the IT and technology of our venues and our equipment costs are high as it is a complete bespoke turnkey operation.

How is the brand ethical?

When we started Döner Shack we committed to challenge the status quo in kebabs, so we also had to challenge our suppliers in Germany to source their products from farms we could trust and ensure they work to the same ethics that we do. We only serve ethically sourced ingredients – from our meat through to our bread, beer and soft drinks – and now we’re setting a better standard for kebab restaurants all over the world.

We also pride ourselves on operating in an ethical manner, giving our workforce a working environment that is safe, secure, flexible and rewarding. By maintaining great relationships with our staff, we create a more positive, co-operative and rewarding work environment for both our management teams and their employees.

How many job vacancies do you expect the opening to attract?

Each new restaurant we open creates five management positions and up to 35 full and part time crew member roles. We aim to attract the best candidates with fair pay, a world class training programme and incentive packages that include trips to Germany so they can experience the German street food scene firsthand. We want to enthuse and engage our teams so they are here for the long haul – our retention rates have been excellent since we started implementing this strategy.

On the back of our growth and planned new openings, we have created 10 new head office roles from marketing and finance to operations and franchise support. The head office team motivate me every day with their energy and application. It really is an exciting time to be part of this business.

How can you assure you will give the best customer service?

We ensure the journey and experience for our customers is as quick, seamless and customer friendly as possible at each stage. We have implemented several new customer engagement software solutions into our business to manage the interactions and communication with our customers via several touch points, as well as help guide them through the customer journey.

For example, we have developed a new loyalty app and set up a ‘Click & Collect’ area so that people coming into the restaurant can engage with our brand whether they are eating in, collecting a takeaway or ordering a delivery online. We have also integrated our delivery partner’s platform into our website, so we can always retain direct contact with our customers.

We have also introduced robotics and advanced operating procedures for preparing the food in our kitchens to drive towards greater efficiency in our restaurants and ensure our speed of service is best in class. We have implemented state-of-the-art robotic kebab cutters in our kitchens to help reduce food preparation time and food waste. as well as creating a safe and simple place to work.

What can we expect to see on the menu?

We will be serving a range of authentic kebabs using freshly homemade artisan bread with signature sauces. Alongside döner, chicken shawarma and freshly baked artisan bread, there will also be currywurst, halloumi, falafel and vegan schnitzel all priced between £6 – £9, with a selection of milkshakes, German soft drinks and beers on the menu.

Do you have any future plans?

Following the launch of Manchester Arndale on 22 November, we will open further sites in Manchester, Leicester and Glasgow in the first quarter of 2022. We’re also planning on expanding overseas into America next year.

Given the current climate, why did you decide to open at this time?

Some of our deals were actually agreed last year but we worked with our landlords to ensure we opened at the optimal time when trade is back to a good level and confidence is returning. The timing is perfect as we kick off our ambitious plans for the next 24 months.

Do you expect to see the new site undergo difficulties during the Christmas season?

As with any new product or service, there may be some initial teething problems, but nothing that can’t be sorted out quickly. We do not, however, envisage any difficulties over the festive season in terms of our operations or customer service. We’re looking forward to welcoming the community of Manchester to our new restaurant where they can get together once again and enjoy great food in a fun environment.

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